Sunday, January 06, 2019

Epiphany, once more

One more thing for Epiphany. We sang this hymn this morning - the hymnal we are now using ("The Chalice Hymnal") lists it as an Epiphany hymn, which I didn't realize, but makes sense from the words.

We sang it a good bit differently - we do not have shape-note in our tradition, and we had piano accompaniment and we also sang it a bit slower (I think I like the faster tempo used here better) but it made me smile because I really have come to love this song, particularly in this rendition:

One of the points the minister made - because it was an unfamiliar hymn to most, he gave a bit of the history - was to point out that first it asks the question "what rich gift would be appropriate for Christ" but concludes that no gift is richer than "the heart's adoration" - "Vainly we offer each ample oblation" and can you imagine a lyric-writer today using a word like "oblation" for "gift"?

(And although it's listed as "anonymous" there, apparently Reginald Heber did write the lyrics)

And yeah, that third verse in the arrangement we used, as is often the case in hymns, is the one that catches me and makes me almost tear up:

"Vainly we offer each ample oblation/ Vainly with gifts we his favor secure/ Richer by far is the heart's adoration/ Nearer to God are the prayers of the poor"

That said? There was one moment where I was hard-pressed not to giggle today. They did a "presentation of the Three Kings" (It was supposed to be children, but some of the kids were a bit late getting there, so they tapped three of the choir members to do it). The "bearers of the gifts" had crowns. But they were Burger King crowns - yes, like kids wear at birthday parties there. I get what they were trying to do with it but it was a little funny.

And because it's technically still Christmas until the sun sets this evening, I will share one more Christmas hymn from Rose Ensemble, because I love it so much and it makes me happy. (I know I have shared this one before):

They do it as a sing-along, apparently, and I think it would make a wonderful sing-along to close either a Christmas service, or even a sort of church-party at Christmas time, to send people out into the world with a graceful, happy tune, and reassuring words.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

I'm VERY patient. I'm using this link for my Dec 6 post because I can.